Matching foresight to a confident vision and fitting ambitious global plans to a specific locality, Lafarge North America has committed an important investment to extensive improvements to modernise its cement manufacturing facility in Ravena in upstate New York. Its management team has tapped a start-up specialist to manage this transformation, converting a legacy plant into a more efficient, competitive and environmentally responsible production facility.
The planned improvements outline the most ambitious evolution in the long history of the 4000-acre plant. The modernisation is scheduled to be completed and online by mid-2016.
The Lafarge Ravena cement plant sits 15 miles south of Albany in the village of Ravena and the town of Coeymans. It extends two miles from its limestone quarry at the edge of the Helderberg escarpment to its deep-water port on the Hudson River. Mile-long conveyors deliver crushed limestone from the quarry to the production facility and finished product from there to the port. Atlantic Cement opened the plant in the early 1960s; Blue Circle Cement purchased it in 1985 and Lafarge North America Inc. acquired it in 2001.
The Lafarge Ravena plant is one of more than 260 manufacturing and distribution sites in 40 states operated by Lafarge US (an operating unit of Lafarge North America Inc.), among its cement, aggregate and concrete businesses.
To leverage the convenient delivery capability of the Lafarge Ravena plant and to reduce the plant’s production costs, Lafarge launched plans to convert from a wet kiln to state-of-the-art preheater, precalciner technology. This project will also help sharpen Lafarge’s competitive edge, while remaining within state and federal environmental requirements.
“Lafarge is committed to investing hundreds of millions of dollars in modernising our Ravena cement production facility simply because we are committed to competing in the US market in an environmentally responsible fashion,” said John Stull, Lafarge US President and CEO. “This ambitious modernisation project will enable Lafarge to better serve our customers in this market and allow us to continue contributing to building better cities and communities in our area and across our region,” Stull added.
The Lafarge Ravena plant boasts strong safety and productivity accomplishments, a clean environmental record and strong community involvement. Building on this heritage, Lafarge has moved to ensure sustainability and the flexibility to respond to market conditions and production demands by adopting plans for the new production facility.
In 2008, Lafarge achieved a significant milestone when the company proposed plans to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for the new dry process cement kiln line to replace its existing twin wet kilns. “The objective is to reduce fuel use per tonne of product by half, to cut solid waste by 40%, to reduce water discharges to zero and to reduce CO2 emission rate by more than 20%,” said Craig Campbell, Lafarge Vice President, Public Affairs, Environment and Land. Lafarge obtained the necessary regulatory approval for this ambitious plant upgrade through New York State’s environmental permitting process. DEC accepted Lafarge’s Final Environmental Impact Statement in July 2012 and issued the necessary permits.
Through the extensive scientific and community relations elements in the permitting process, which resulted in the project receiving more than 1000 strong letters of support from residents, businesses, more than 25 elected federal, state and local officials and three local governments, New York state regulators recognised the importance that the improvements to the new plant will bring to Lafarge, the community and the region. This process made clear to regulators and the community alike the improved plant’s increased efficiency and productivity, fuel efficiency and related environmental enhancements, notably Lafarge’s industry-leading use of Greenhouse Gas Best Available Control Technology (GHG BACT), along with key safety features built into the design.
Read part 2 here.
Written by Craig Campbell and Joëlle Lipski-Rockwood, Lafarge North America Inc., USA. This is an abridged version of the full article, which appeared in the April 2014 issue of World Cement. Subscribers can view the full article by logging in.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/the-americas/27032014/from_heritage_plant_to_production_powerhouse_part_1_952/